Back in 2003 when All-Star Goalie Mike Richter retired, New York Rangers fans could only hope the franchise could find a goalie as good as the one who helped lead the Broadway Blue Shirts to a Stanley Cup title in 1994.
Some two years after Richter retired, the Rangers found the rightful heir to the throne in Henrik Lundqvist. While Lundqvist didn’t win a Stanley Cup in his 15 years at net for the Rangers, he became beloved by fans who dubbed him “the King.”
Lundqvist is the all-time leader in franchise history in games played (887), wins (459) and save percentage (.918). He won the Vezina Trophy in 2012 as the NHL’s top goaltender. He holds the record for most wins by a European-born goaltender in the NHL.
On Friday night, Lunqvist’s number 30 joined Richter’s number 31 in the rafters at Madison Square Garden.
Nothing but love for our Henrik. pic.twitter.com/VojauOFYzG— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) January 29, 2022
Richter along with Rangers legends Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Brian Leetch were all on hand to welcome Lundqvist to the exclusive club. Only 11 Rangers have had their numbers retired.
“When I came here, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I was going to play hockey. I was going to live my dream. Thinking back now, I didn’t know how many times I had to pinch myself because I lived my dream here. To live in a place where people care so much. Where they treat you so well. To play in Madison Square Garden. To live in New York City.”